January 21 (UPI) — A spokesman for SpaceX, a U.S. space exploration technology company, has confirmed that Tesla Model X will be the official vehicle for its future manned missions,media reported. Boeing, meanwhile, is said to be sticking with the Airstream van NASA has been using for decades to get astronauts to the launch pad.
Pictured: Astronauts on A SpaceX manned mission will take the Tesla Model X to the launch pad
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Herley took part in a pre-launch rehearsal for SpaceX in preparation for the upcoming first manned mission, which could take place as soon as April. The two astronauts donned spacesuits, but instead of riding in a traditional space van, they took the stylish white Model X to the launch pad. SpaceX employees sent astronauts to the launch pad, followed by support staff on another Model X.
Joshua Santora, a NASA spokesman, sees the development as part of a deeper collaboration with SpaceX and Tesla. Both astronauts said they were excited about SpaceX’s launch escape system test, a Tesla ride and another launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil.
SpaceX reached an important milestone Sunday when it successfully completed its manned Dragon spacecraft flight abort (IFA) test. In tests, SpaceX deliberately destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket to simulate a failure from a launch pad to Earth orbit and to test the capsule’s launch escape system.
The IFA test is the last major step before a manned Dragon spacecraft is allowed to transport U.S. astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station and return. The successful test proved that SpaceX and its manned Dragon spacecraft can safely put astronauts into orbit and ensure their safety in the event of an emergency during flight.
“This critical flight test is about to restore the ability of Us mantos to launch American astronauts from the Continental United States with a U.S. rocket,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. We are excited about the progress made in NASA’s Commercial Astronaut program and look forward to the next milestone of the manned Dragon spacecraft. “
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive and chief engineer, has expressed concern about the success of the supersonic suspension test, but he is pleased with the results. “So far, the mission has gone as smoothly as one might expect,” he said. This reflects the efforts of the SpaceX and NASA teams to achieve this goal. I’m so excited, that’s great! “